The New York Post reported that Citi Field, the new $850 million home of MLB’s New York Mets, is riddled with construction defects (“Mets in ‘Foul’ Territory,” 9/6).
Financed with $697 million in tax-free bonds from the city and state that will be paid off by the Mets organization, Citi Field was constructed with a discriminatory and costly project labor agreement (PLA).
According to the article:
Sources said other problems have turned Mets maintenance crews into the team’s real five-tool stars. Among the problems:
* A nonworking elevator last week that forced Mets owner Fred Wilpon to climb four flights to his office.
* An outfield section known as “Mo’s Zone” flooding in a rainstorm three months ago because drains were clogged. The backup was caused by 20 feet of pipe collapsing in the bullpen.
* A 4-by-6-foot illuminated sign falling in the field-level promenade during an off day.
* Electricity in the kitchen above the ticket booths near the rotunda shorting out. One outage caused the refrigerators to fail and water to leak into the ticket booths.
* A piece of concrete breaking off; it’s now sitting in a field crew’s office.
* Air conditioning and heating in the maintenance crew’s locker room that hasn’t worked since Day 1.
* Improperly installed electrical outlets. There is only one socket in the team’s laundry room, so a power strip is needed to plug in all the washing machines.
* A black granite capstone on the stadium’s ground-level façade falling off. Yesterday, Mets workers were spotted fixing the broken tile.
* Soaked seats in another luxury suite caused by a leaky ceiling during a rainy Mets-Yankees game. Crews carrying buckets, mops and towels paraded into the suite all night to stem the tide.
Even before the 42,500-seat ballfield opened in April, there were signs of trouble. In January The Post spotted rust on a beam running down the wall of the front entrance.
While a project of this size is bound to have minor problems, these anecdotes serve as a reminder that a PLA does not guarantee quality work despite that fact that Big Labor touts PLAs as a tool to guarantee the use of “highly skilled and trained union labor” to deliver a quality PLA project.
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), who criticized the city Industrial Development Agency over its deal to give the Mets and Yankees tax-free bonds to build new stadiums, said there should be an assessment of the stadium’s condition now that the inaugural season is drawing to a close.
“Taxpayer money is going to build the stadiums for these wealthy private entities, and it’s not clear that anyone is checking on anything,” Brodsky said. “No one knows who’s accountable.”
The city and state issued $697 million in tax-free bonds to finance the construction of the throwback-style ballpark resembling Ebbets Field. Under the deal, the Mets pay off the bonds, but save on interest and taxes.
Contractor Hunt-Bovis built Citi Field over two years. Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Bovis overbilled for work performed at the stadium.
Yesterday, the New York Post reported that some contractors who built the PLA stadium have ties to the Mafia and a track record of labor corruption and bribery (“Met ‘Mob’ Contracts,” 1/5). Sounds like there is some excellent accountability going on with this project.
The Mets shelled out $51.6 million in taxpayer money to contractors shunned by the city for their ties to the Mafia, labor corruption or bribery, The Post has learned.
At least seven contractors the city avoids were hired by the team to build Citi Field between 2006 and 2009, according to government records.
The tainted companies were paid from a $91 million pot the city Economic Development Corp. gave to the Mets.
TheTruthAboutPLAs.com has long argued that where there is a PLA, there is political corruption.
The ongoing criminal investigations and past convictions of personnel related to the contracting firms investigated by the NY Post demonstrates an astounding pattern of illegal activity that lends support to our belief that PLAs are closely linked to corruption. (Chalk it up to coincidence? I think not.)
Is this the type of accountability and quality final product PLAs deliver to the public and construction owners?